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SEVILLA

AFA to pressure Sampaoli to take on the Argentina post

With help from the government, the Argentine Football Association hope to raise the 8.1 M euro buy-out fee to release the coach from his duties with Sevilla.
Argentina - Nigeria

AFA to pressure Sampaoli to take on the Argentina post
Alex Menendez EFE

"It's difficult to explain that while the AFA is struggling to pay for day-to-day running costs, we will be paying Sampaoli's retention fee, but that's how it is", a high-ranking official from the Argentinean Football Association (AFA) told Diario AS. And it's not as ridiculous as it might sound...

The crisis-hit AFA was recently inspected by FIFA and CONMEBOL, but it is a government commission which has set about managing the future of Argentine football.

The Argentinean government have taken it on themselves to find a new national team coach and while Armando Perez, president of the four-man regulatory commission, has already conducted interviews with prospective candidates [São Paulo's] Edgardo Bauza and Miguel Ángel Russo, the man set to replace Gerardo Martino will be Jorge Sampaoli. The commission also contacted Marcelo Bielsa, but the 61-year-old declined to say one way or the other whether he would be interested in taking on the national team post.

Now officials are searching for the economic means to release Sampaoli from his post at Sevilla - that means meeting his buy-fee, of some 8.1 million euros. At the moment, it is not known whether the Argentine government or a private company will finance such a move.

What is known is that Sevilla will initially be given an offer to consider letting Sampaoli take on the Argentina job on a part-time basis - sharing his club duties with the national team until January. Argentina have six World Cup qualifiers - two per month, in September (Uruguay and Venezuela), October (Peru and Paraguay) and November (Brazil and Colombia); the plan is for Sampaoli to take over the reins for those games, combining his duties with Sevilla while the retention fee would be paid, effectively freeing him up by the New Year, which would give Sevilla time to find a suitable replacement. If Sevilla are against the idea, the AFA would pay the buy-out up front.

Apart from guiding Argentina to 2018 World Cup Russia, Sampaoli's other task would be coaxing Leo Messi to reconsider his decision to quit the national team. The coach recently held a brief conversation with Messi's father to let him know that he has his unconditional support...